Good Citizens, Bad Governments
Documented by Rodry Kamehzari @k.rodry
Since Russia’s irrelevant, inhuman and illegal war started, a lot has changed for the Russian civil society, internally as well as globally. Domestic suppression has become severe toward those minorities who try to oppose Kremlin’s decisions, as their voice of opposition has been widely subdued throughout the country in such a completely authoritarian manner that has not been seen since cold war. Moreover, it has resulted in mass emigration, specifically among the middle class, as life in these times feels unbearable to many. Statistics reveal that almost a million Russians (men and women) have left the country since the 24th of February, 2022, mostly to post-Soviet countries such as Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan as well as Turkey and the West. However, there is still a notable number of Russians who, due to various reasons, have decided to remain in the country and face the inevitably harsh consequences. This photo project aims to reveal what life is like for them during wartime…
More precisely, what this ongoing project of mine called “Good Citizens, Bad Governments” tries to do is shed light on the aforementioned Russian minority and introduce them to the international audience. The idea is to reveal their daily lives in this time of war (even though it is not comparable to how Ukrainians are forced to live under constant artillery fire and shelling) and uncover the tremendous psychological pressure they have to endure on a daily basis (again, it does not even get close to what Ukrainians are experiencing). “Good Citizens, Bad Governments” combines the styles of both stage and documentary photography, for I came to the conclusion that it is necessary to take portraits of my candidates whenever there is a chance, as well as to document their daily lives during this time of crisis. Due to the magnitude of the event and the broad impact it has brought to almost every class of the Russian society, I also chose not to limit myself to a particular format and decided to include street photography in the project as well, for the current torment affects every corner of the country and penetrates everything – all of which could be captured via photography. I hope this project will be able to reflect at least some portion of the ongoing tragedy in today’s Russia in order to bring more awareness to a potential audience of international observers.